Strength Training

Everyone knows that cardio-vascular exercise is an important part of losing weight and overall health. What most people do not realize though is that strength training is also a good way to help you lose and maintain a healthy weight.

Strength training is any weight-bearing exercise and is important for everyone, regardless of age. Different methods of strength training include using your own body weight, resistance tubing, free weights, or weight machines. Benefits of strength training include reducing your body fat, increasing lean muscle mass, reducing bone-density loss and it also helps your body burn calories more efficiently.

When most people try to lose weight they usually do so by cutting calories, performing cardiovascular exercises, or trying a combination of both. While these methods can be effective for losing weight, a piece of the puzzle is still missing. That piece is strength training. The science behind this philosophy lies in your lean body mass. This lean body mass is the muscle underneath your body fat which burns calories for you all day long. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be, creating a process for losing and maintaining weight more effectively. Not incorporating strength training into your exercise routine actually negatively affects your results because a loss of muscle will occur along with any weight loss. This loss of muscle will slow down your metabolism making it harder to lose body fat and also much easier to put on body fat.

So, how does one go about incorporating strength training into their exercise routine? First off, please make sure you have your doctor’s permission before beginning a strength training program and also start slowly. Warm up with five to ten minutes of gentle cardio-vascular exercise then begin with choosing a weight or resistance level that will tire the particular muscle group you are working after 12 repetitions. For beginners, one set of 12 repetitions is a good place to start. As you advance in your strength training routine, increasing to two or three sets of 12 repetitions may help to increase your muscle endurance.

Giving your muscles time to recover is an important aspect to remember when strength training. Make sure you rest one full day before you train a particular muscle group again. Also, if lifting a particular weight becomes easy after 15 repetitions, gradually increase the weight or resistance. As with any new routine, do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed, just two to three strength training sessions a week for 20 to 30 minutes is sufficient.

Here at the Marion Family YMCA we are dedicated to helping you achieve your strength training and fitness goals. We provide many options for you like personalized wellness coaching sessions, personal training, and fitness classes. We also now offer ActivTrax which is a tool that creates customized strength training workouts around your goals, strengths, and fitness experience. ActivTrax provides a new workout every time you visit the Y which keeps your workouts interesting and your muscles challenged. There is even an online feature that allows you to track your nutrition from home.

We hope you will visit the Y soon and let us help you on your quest for better health. You can find us at the Wopat YMCA Center 645 Barks Road East in Marion, call us with questions at 740-725-9622 or visit our website at

Column written by Janette Roark, Marion Family YMCA Member Services Coordinator.

About Marion Family YMCA

Founded in 1892, the Marion Family YMCA strives to enrich kids, adults, families and communities through well-being and fitness, camps, family time, swim, sports, and play, and other activities for people of all ages, incomes and abilities. The YMCA's column on Marion Online is written by a variety of staff members and volunteers. You can learn more by calling 740-725-9622, or visit